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Steven Rattner, Ex-Car Czar, Settles SEC Charges, Then Gets Hit With Another Lawsuit

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WASHINGTON — The Obama administration's former auto czar agreed Thursday to pay $6.2 million to settle civil charges over his role in an influence-peddling scandal involving New York state's public pension fund.

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced the settlement with investment banker Steven Rattner. As part of the settlement, Rattner will also be barred for at least two years from working in the securities industry.

The SEC alleged that Rattner and his private-equity firm Quadrangle Group provided kickbacks, political favors and personal benefits in 2004-05 to get access to business from the state's $125 billion pension fund.

Rattner neither admitted nor denied the charges that were filed in a federal court in Manhattan. But he agreed not to violate the securities laws in the future. The settlement, which must be approved by the court, calls for Rattner to pay a $3 million fine and about $3.2 million in restitution.

In a separate but related action Thursday, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo filed two suits against Rattner also accusing him of paying illegal kickbacks to help Quadrangle land a lucrative investment from the pension fund.

Cuomo is seeking at least $26 million from Rattner and a lifetime ban from the securities industry.

Rattner, a major political fundraiser for Democrats and influential policy figure, left the firm last year to become co-leader of the White House task force that restructured General Motors and Chrysler. He left the government in July and has been promoting his new book on the auto industry since.

The money Rattner is paying to settle the charges represents a fraction of his wealth. He reported net worth last year of between $188 million and $608 million. But banning him from the industry, even a temporarily, could greatly limit his earning potential.

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